Potash & Perlmutter - Their Copartnership Ventures and Adventures
by Montague Glass
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"Board of Trustees!" Morris exclaimed.

"Yes, the Board of Trustees of the Home for Female Orphans of Veterans, at Oceanhurst, Long Island. I am the superintendent—Miss Taylor—and I had an appointment at Lapidus & Elenbogen's to inspect a thousand blue-serge suits. Lapidus & Elenbogen were the successful bidders, you know. And there was really no reason for Mr. Tuchman's hospitality, since I had nothing whatever to do with their receiving the contract, nor could I possibly influence the placing of any future orders."

Morris nodded slowly. "So you ain't Miss Atkinson, then, lady?" he said.

The lady laughed again. "I'm very sorry if I'm the innocent recipient under false pretenses of a lunch and an automobile ride," she said, rising. "And you'll excuse me if I must hurry away to keep my appointment at Lapidus & Elenbogen's? I have to catch a train back to Oceanhurst at five o'clock, too."

She held out her hand and Morris took it sheepishly.

"I hope you'll forgive me," she said.

"I can't blame you, lady," Morris replied as they went toward the front door. "It ain't your fault, lady."

He held the door open for her. "And as for that Max Tuchman," he said, "I hope they send him up for life."

Abe stood in the show-room doorway as Morris returned from the front of the store and fixed his partner with a terrible glare. "Yes, Mawruss," he said, "you're a fine piece of work, I must say."

Morris shrugged his shoulders and sat down. "That's what comes of not minding your own business," he retorted. "I'm the inside, Abe, and you're the outside, and it's your business to look after the out-of-town trade. I told you I don't know nothing about this here lady-buyer business. You ordered the oitermobile. I ain't got nothing to do with it, and, anyhow, I don't want to hear no more about it."

A pulse was beating in Abe's cheeks as he paced up and down before replying.

"You don't want to hear no more about it, Mawruss, I know," he said; "but I want to hear about it. I got a right to hear about it, Mawruss. I got a right to hear it how a man could make such a fool out of himself. Tell me, Mawruss, what name did you ask it for when you went to the clerk at the Prince William Hotel?"

Morris jumped to his feet. "Lillian Russell!" he roared, and banged the show-room door behind him.

For the remainder of the day Morris and Abe avoided each other, and it was not until the next morning that Morris ventured to address his partner.

"Did you get it any word from Marcus Bramson?" he asked.

"I ain't seen nor heard nothing," Abe replied. "I can't understand it, Mawruss; the man promised me, mind you, he would be here sure. Maybe you seen him up to the hotel, Mawruss?"

"I seen him," Morris replied, "but not at the hotel, Abe. I seen him up at that Heatherbloom Inn, Abe—with a lady."

"With a lady?" Abe cried. "Are you sure it was a lady, Mawruss? Maybe she was a relation."

"Relations you don't take it to expensive places like the Heatherbloom Inn, Abe," Morris replied. "And, anyhow, this wasn't no relation, Abe; this was a lady. Why should a man blush for a relation, ain't it?"

"Did he blush?" Abe asked; but the question remained unanswered, for as Morris was about to reply the store door opened and Marcus Bramson entered.

"Ah, Mr. Bramson," Abe cried, "ain't it a beautiful weather?"

He seized the newcomer by the hand and shook it up and down. Mr. Bramson received the greeting solemnly.

"Abe," he said, "I am a man of my word, ain't it? And so I come here to buy goods; but, all the same, I tell you the truth: I was pretty near going to Lapidus & Elenbogen's."

"Lapidus & Elenbogen's!" Abe cried. "Why so?"

At this juncture Morris appeared at the show-room door and beamed at Mr. Bramson, who looked straight over his head in cold indifference; whereupon Morris found some business to attend to in the rear of the store.

"That's what I said," Mr. Bramson replied, "Lapidus & Elenbogen's; and you would of deserved it."

"Mr. Bramson," Abe protested, "did I ever done you something that you should talk that way?"

"Me you never done nothing to, Abe," said Mr. Bramson, "but to treat a lady what is a lady, Abe, like a dawg, Abe, I must say it I'm surprised.

"I never treated no lady like a dawg, Mr. Bramson," Abe replied. "You must be mistaken."

"Well, maybe it wasn't you, Abe," Mr. Bramson went on; "but if it wasn't you it was your partner there, that Mawruss Perlmutter. Yesterday I seen him up to the Heatherbloom Inn, Abe, and I assure you, Abe, I was never before in my life in such a high-price place—coffee and cake, Abe, believe me, one dollar and a quarter."

He paused to let the information sink in. "But what could I do?" he asked. "I was walking through the side entrance of the Prince William Hotel yesterday, Abe, just on my way down to see you, when I seen it a lady sitting on a bench, looking like she would like to cry only for shame for the people. Well, Abe, I looked again, Abe, and would you believe it, Abe, it was Miss Atkinson, what used to work for me as saleswoman and got a job by The Golden Rule Store, Elmira, as assistant buyer, and is now buyer by Moe Gerschel, The Emporium, Duluth."

Abe nodded; he knew what was coming.

"So, naturally, I asks her what it is the matter with her, and she says Potash & Perlmutter had an appointment to take her out in an oitermobile at two o'clock, and here it was three o'clock already and they ain't showed up yet. Potash & Perlmutter is friends of mine, Miss Atkinson, I says, and I'm sure something must have happened, or otherwise they would not of failed to be here. So I says for her to ring you up, Abe, and find out. But she says she would see you first in—she wouldn't ring you up for all the oitermobiles in New York. So I says, well, I says, if you don't want to ring 'em up I'll ring 'em up; and she says I should mind my own business. So then I says, if you wouldn't ring 'em up and I wouldn't ring 'em up I'll do this for you, Miss Atkinson: You and me will go for an oitermobile ride, I says, and we'll have just so good a time as if Potash & Perlmutter was paying for it. And so we did, Abe. I took Miss Atkinson up to the Heatherbloom Inn, and it costed me thirty dollars, Abe, including a cigar, which I wouldn't charge you nothing for."

"Charge me nothing!" Abe cried. "Of course you wouldn't charge me nothing. You wouldn't charge me nothing, Mr. Bramson, because I wouldn't pay you nothing. I didn't ask you to take Miss Atkinson out in an oitermobile."

"I know you didn't, Abe," Mr. Bramson replied firmly, "but either you will pay for it or I will go over to Lapidus & Elenbogen's and they will pay for it. They'll be only too glad to pay for it, Abe, because I bet yer Miss Atkinson she give 'em a pretty big order already, Abe."

Abe frowned and then shrugged. "All right," he said; "if I must I must. So come on now, Mr. Bramson, and look over the line."

In the meantime Morris had repaired to the bookkeeper's desk and was looking over the daybook with an unseeing eye. His mind was occupied with bitter reflections when Ralph Tuchman interrupted him.

"Mr. Perlmutter," he said, "I'm going to leave."

"Going to leave?" Morris cried. "What for?"

"Well, in the first place, I don't like it to be called out of my name," he continued. "Mr. Potash calls me Ike, and my name is Ralph. If a man's name is Ralph, Mr. Perlmutter, he naturally don't like it to be called Ike."

"I know it," Morris agreed, "but some people ain't got a good memory for names, Ralph. Even myself I forget it names, too, oncet in a while, occasionally."

"But that ain't all, Mr. Perlmutter," Ralph went on. "Yesterday, while you was out, Mr. Potash accuses me something terrible."

"Accuse you?" Morris said. "What does he accuse you for?"

"He accuse me that I ring up my Uncle Max Tuchman and tell him about a Miss Atkinson at the Prince William Hotel," Ralph continued. "I didn't do it, Mr. Perlmutter; believe me. Uncle Max rung me up, and I was going to tell you and Mr. Potash what he rung me up for if you didn't looked at me like I was a pickpocket when I was coming away from the 'phone yesterday."

"I didn't look at you like a pickpocket, Ralph," Morris said. "What did your Uncle Max ring you up for?"

"Why, he wanted me to tell you that so long as you was so kind and gives me this here vacation job I should do you a good turn, too. He says that Miss Atkinson tells him yesterday she was going out oitermobile riding with you, and so he says I should tell you not to go to any expense by Miss Atkinson, on account that she already bought her fall line from Uncle Max when he was in Duluth three weeks ago already; and that she is now in New York strictly on her vacation only, and not to buy goods."

Morris nodded slowly.

"Well, Ralph," he said, "you're a good, smart boy, and I want you to stay until Miss Cohen comes back and maybe we'll raise you a couple of dollars a week till then."

He bit the end off a Heatherbloom Inn cigar. "When a man gets played it good for a sucker like we was," he mused, "a couple of dollars more or less won't harm him none."

"That's what my Uncle Max says when he seen you up at the Heatherbloom Inn yesterday," Ralph commented.

"He seen me up at the Heatherbloom Inn!" Morris cried. "How should he seen me up at the Heatherbloom Inn? I thought he was made it arrested."

"Sure he was made it arrested," Ralph said. "But he fixed it up all right at the station-house, and the sergeant lets him out. So he goes up to the Heatherbloom Inn because when he went right back to the hotel to see after that Miss Taylor the carriage agent tells him a feller chases him up in an oitermobile to the Heatherbloom Inn. But when Uncle Max gets up there you look like you was having such a good time already he hates to interrupt you, so he goes back to the store again."

Morris puffed violently at his cigar.

"That's a fine piece of work," he said, "that Max Tuchman is."

Ralph nodded.

"Sure he is," he replied. "Uncle Max is an up-to-date feller."


"The trouble is with us, Mawruss," Abe Potash declared one afternoon in September, "that we ain't in an up-to-date neighborhood. We should get it a loft in one of them buildings up in Seventeenth, Eighteenth or Nineteenth Street, Mawruss. All the trade is up in that neighborhood."

"I ain't got such a good head for figures like you got it, Abe," Morris Perlmutter replied, "and so I am content we should stay where we are. We done it always a fair business here, Abe. Ain't it?"

"Sure, I know," Abe went on, "but the way it is with out-of-town buyers, Mawruss, they goes where the crowd is, and they ain't going to be bothered to come way downtown for us, Mawruss."

"Well, how about Klinger & Klein, Lapidus & Elenbogen, and all them people, Abe?" Morris asked. "Ain't them out-of-town buyers going to buy goods off of them neither?"

"Klinger & Klein already hire it a fine loft on Nineteenth Street," Abe interposed.

"Well, Abe," Morris rejoined, "Klinger & Klein, like a whole lot of people what I know, acts like monkeys, Abe. They see somebody doing something and they got to do it too."

"If we could do the business what Klinger & Klein done it, Mawruss, I am willing I should act like a monkey."

"Another thing, Abe," Morris went on, "Klinger & Klein sends their work out by contractors. We got it operators and machines, Abe, and you can't have a show-room, cutting-room and machines all in one loft. Ain't it?"

"Well, then we get it two lofts, Mawruss, and then we could put our workrooms upstairs and our show-room and offices downstairs."

"And double our expenses, too, Abe," Morris added. "No, Abe, I don't want to work for no landlord all my life."

"But I seen Marks Henochstein yesterday, Mawruss, and he told it me Klinger & Klein ain't paying half the rent what they pay down here. So, if we could get it two floors we wouldn't increase our expenses, Mawruss, and could do it maybe twicet the business."

"Marks Henochstein is a real-estater, Abe," Morris replied, "and when a real-estater tells you something, you got to make allowances fifty per cent. for facts."

"I know," Abe cried; "but we don't have to hire no loft what we don't want to, Mawruss. Henochstein can't compel you to pay twicet as much what we're paying now. Ain't it? So what is the harm if we should maybe ask him to find a couple of lofts for us? Ain't it?"

"All right, Abe," Morris concluded, "if I must go crazy listening to you talking about it I sooner move first. So go ahead and do what you like."

"Well, the fact is," said Abe, "I told Marks Henochstein he should find it a couple lofts for us this morning, Mawruss, agreeing strictly that we should not pay him nothing, as he gets a commission from the landlord already."

Morris received this admission with a scowl.

"For a feller what's got such a nerve like you got it, Abe," he declared, "I am surprised you should make it such a poor salesman."

"When a man's got it a back-number partner, Mawruss, his hands is full inside and outside the store, and so naturally he loses it a few customers oncet in a while," Abe replied. "But, somebody's got to have nerve in a business, Mawruss, and if I waited for you to make suggestions we would never get nowhere."

Morris searched his mind for an appropriate rejoinder, and had just formulated a particularly bitter jibe when the store door opened to admit two shabbily-dressed females.

"Here, you," Abe called, "operators goes around the alley."

The elder of the two females drew herself up haughtily.

"Operators!" she said with a scornful rising inflection.

"Finishers, also," Abe continued. "This here door is for customers."

"You don't know me, Potash," she retorted. "Might you don't know this lady neither, maybe?"

She indicated her companion, who turned a mournful gaze upon the astonished Abe.

"But we know you, Potash," she went on. "We know you already when you didn't have it so much money what you got now."

Her companion nodded sadly.

"So, Potash," she concluded, "your own wife's people is operators and finishers; what?"

Abe looked at Morris, who stood grinning broadly in the show-room doorway.

"Give me an introduction once, Abe," Morris said.

"He don't have to give us no introduction," the elder female exclaimed. "Me, I am Mrs. Sarah Mashkowitz, and this here lady is my sister, Mrs. Blooma Sheikman, geborn Smolinski."

"That ain't my fault that you got them names," Abe said. "I see it now that you're my wife's father's brother's daughter, ain't it? So if you're going to make a touch, make it. I got business to attend to."

"We ain't going to make no touch, Potash," Mrs. Mashkowitz declared. "We would rather die first."

"All right," Abe replied heartlessly. "Die if you got to. You can't make me mad."

Mrs. Mashkowitz ignored Abe's repartee.

"We don't ask nothing for ourselves, Potash," she said, "but we got it a sister, your wife's own cousin, Miriam Smolinski. She wants to get married."

"I'm agreeable," Abe murmured, "and I'm sure my Rosie ain't got no objections neither."

Mrs. Sheikman favored him with a look of contempt.

"What chance has a poor girl got it to get married?" she asked.

"When she ain't got a dollar in the world," Mrs. Mashkowitz added. "And her own relatives from her own blood is millionaires already."

"If you mean me," Abe replied, "I ain't no millionaire, I can assure you. Far from it."

"Plenty of money you got it, Potash," Mrs. Mashkowitz said. "Five hundred dollars to you is to me like ten cents."

"He don't think no more of five hundred dollars than you do of your life, lady," Morris broke in with a raucous laugh.

"Do me the favor, Mawruss," Abe cried, "and tend to your own business."

"Sure," Morris replied, as he turned to go. "I thought I was helping you out, Abe, that's all."

He repaired to the rear of the store, while Abe piloted his two visitors into the show-room.

"Now what is it you want from me?" he asked.

"Not a penny she got it," Mrs. Mashkowitz declared, breaking into tears. "And she got a fine young feller what is willing to marry her and wants it only five hundred dollars."

"Only five hundred dollars," Mrs. Sheikman moaned. "Only five hundred dollars. Ai vai!"

"Five hundred dollars!" Abe exclaimed. "If you think you should cry till you get five hundred dollars out of me, you got a long wet spell ahead of you. That's all I got to say."

"Might he would take two hundred and fifty dollars, maybe," Mrs. Sheikman suggested hopefully through her tears.

"Don't let him do no favors on my account," Abe said; "because, if it was two hundred and fifty buttons it wouldn't make no difference to me."

"A fine young feller," Mrs. Mashkowitz sobbed. "He got six machines and two hundred dollars saved up and wants to go into the cloak and suit contracting business."

"Only a hundred dollars if the poor girl had it," Mrs. Sheikman burst forth again; "maybe he would be satisfied."

"S'enough!" Abe roared. "I heard enough already."

He banged a sample table with his fist and Mrs. Sheikman jumped in her seat.

"That's a heart what you got it," she said bitterly, "like Haman."

"Haman was a pretty good feller already compared to me," Abe declared; "and also I got business to attend to."

"Come, Sarah," Mrs. Sheikman cried. "What's the use talking to a bloodsucker like him!"

"Wait!" Mrs. Mashkowitz pleaded; "I want to ask him one thing more. If Miriam got it this young feller for a husband, might you would give him some of your work, maybe?"

"Bloodsuckers don't give no work to nobody," Abe replied firmly. "And also will you get out of my store, or will you be put out?"

He turned on his heel without waiting for an answer and joined Morris in the rear of the store.

Ten minutes later he was approached by Jake, the shipping-clerk.

"Mr. Potash," Jake said, "them two ladies in the show-room wants to know if you would maybe give that party they was talking about a recommendation to the President of the Kosciusko Bank?"

"Tell 'em," Abe said, "I'll give 'em a recommendation to a policeman if they don't get right out of here. The only way what a feller should deal with a nervy proposition like that, Mawruss, is to squash it in the bud."

In matters pertaining to real estate Marks Henochstein held himself to be a virtuoso.

"If anyone can put it through, I can," was his motto, and he tackled the job of procuring an uptown loft for Potash & Perlmutter with the utmost confidence.

"In the first place," he said when he called the next day, "you boys has got too much room."

"Boys!" Morris exclaimed. "Since when did we go to school together, Henochstein?"

"Anyhow, you got too much room, ain't yer?" Henochstein continued, his confidence somewhat diminished by the rebuff. "You could get your workrooms and show-rooms all on one floor, and besides——"

Morris raised his hand like a traffic policeman halting an obstreperous truckman.

"S'enough, Henochstein," he said. "S'enough about that. We ain't giving you no pointers in the real-estate business, and we don't want no suggestions about the cloak and suit business neither. We asked it you to get us two lofts on Seventeenth, Eighteenth or Nineteenth Street, the same size as here and for the same what we pay it here rent. If you can't do it let us know, that's all, and we get somebody else to do it. Y'understand?"

"Oh, I can do it all right."

"Sure he can do it," Abe said encouragingly.

"And I'll bring you a list as big as the telephone directory to-morrow," Henochstein added as he went out. "But all the same, boys—I mean Mr. Perlmutter—I don't think you need it all that space."

"That's a fresh real-estater for you, Abe," Morris said after Henochstein left. "Wants to tell it us our business and calls us boys yet, like we was friends from the old country already."

"Oh, I don't know, Mawruss," Abe replied. "He means it good, I guess; and anyway, Mawruss, we give so much of our work out by contractors, we might as well give the whole thing out and be done with it. We might as well have one loft with the cutting-room in the back and a rack for piece goods. Then the whole front we could fit it up as an office and show-room yet, and we would have no noise of the machines and no more trouble with garment-makers' unions nor nothing. I think it's a good idee sending out all the work."

"Them contractors makes enough already on what we give them, Abe," Morris replied. "I bet yer Satinstein buys real estate on what he makes from us, Abe, and Ginsburg & Kaplan also."

"Well, the fact is, Mawruss," Abe went on, "I ain't at all satisfied with the way what Satinstein treats us, Mawruss, nor Ginsburg & Kaplan neither. I got an idee, Mawruss: we should give all our work to a decent, respectable young feller what is going to marry a cousin of my wife, by the name Miriam Smolinski."

Morris looked long and hard at Abe before replying.

"So, Abe," he said, "you squashed it in the bud!"

"Well, them two women goes right up and sees my Rosie yesterday, Mawruss," Abe admitted; "and so my Rosie thinks it wouldn't do us no harm that we should maybe give the young feller a show."

"Is your wife Rosie running this business, Abe, or are we?" Morris asked.

"It ain't a question what Rosie thinks, Mawruss," Abe explained; "it's what I think, too. I think we should give the young feller a show. He's a decent, respectable young feller, Mawruss."

"How do I know that, Abe?" Morris replied. "I ain't never seen him, Abe; I don't even know his name."

"What difference does that make it, Mawruss?" said Abe. "I ain't never seen him neither, Mawruss, and I don't know his name, too; but he could make up our line just as good, whether his name was Thomassheffsky or Murphy. Also, what good would it do us if we did see him first? I'm sure, Mawruss, we ain't giving out our work to Satinstein because he's a good-looking feller, and Ginsburg & Kaplan ain't no John Drews neither, so far what I hear it, Mawruss."

"That ain't the idee, Abe," Morris broke in; "the idee is that we got to give up doing our work in our own shop and send it out by a contractor just starting in as a new beginner already—a young feller what you don't know and I don't know, Abe—and all this we got to do just because you want it, Abe. Me, I am nothing here, Abe, and you are everything. You are the dawg and I am the tail. You are the oitermobile and I am the smell, and that's the way it goes."

"Who says that, Mawruss?" Abe interposed. "I didn't say it."

"You didn't say it, Abe," Morris went on, "but you think it just the same, and I'm going to show you differencely. I am content that we move, Abe, only we ain't going to move unless we can find it two lofts for the same rent what we pay it here. And we ain't going to have less room than we got it here neither, Abe, because if we move we're going to do our own business just the same like we do it here, and that's flat."

For the remainder of the day Abe avoided any reference to their impending removal, and it was not until Henochstein entered the show-room the following morning that the discussion was renewed.

"Well, boys," he said in greeting, "I got it a fine loft for you on Nineteenth Street with twicet as much floor space what you got here."

"A loft!" Morris cried.

"A loft," Henochstein repeated.

"One loft?" Morris asked.

"That's what I said," Henochstein replied, "one loft with twicet as much floor space, and it's got light on all——"

Morris waved his hand for silence.

"Abe," he said, "this here Henochstein is a friend of yours; ain't it?"

Abe nodded sulkily.

"Well, take him out of here," Morris advised, "before I kick him out."

He banged the show-room door behind him and repaired to Wasserbauer's Cafe and Restaurant across the street to await Henochstein's departure.

"Mawruss is right," Abe declared. "You was told distinctively we wanted it two lofts, not one, and here you come back with a one-loft proposition."

Henochstein rose to leave.

"If you think it you could get two up-to-date lofts on Seventeenth, Eighteenth or Nineteenth Street, Abe, for what you pay it here in this dinky place," he said, "you got another think coming."

He opened the show-room door.

"And also, Abe," he concluded, "if I got it a partner what made it a slave of me, like Perlmutter does you, I'd go it alone, that's all I got to say."

After Henochstein left, Abe was a prey to bitter reflections, which were only interrupted by his partner's return to the show-room a quarter of an hour later.

"Well, Abe," Morris cried, "you got your turn at this here moving business; let me try a hand at it once."

"Go ahead, Mawruss," Abe said wearily. "You always get your own way, anyhow. You say I am the dawg, Mawruss, and you are the tail, but I guess you got it the wrong way round. I guess the tail is on the other foot."

Morris shrugged.

"That's something what is past already, Abe," he replied. "I was just talking to Wasserbauer, and he says he got it a friend what is a sort of a real-estater, a smart young feller by the name Sam Slotkin. He says if Slotkin couldn't find it us a couple of lofts, nobody couldn't."

"I'm satisfied, Mawruss," Abe said. "If Slotkin can get us lofts we move, otherwise we stay here. So far we made it always a living here, Mawruss, and I guess we ain't going to lose all our customers even if we don't move; and that's all there is to it."

Mr. Sam Slotkin was doubtless his own ideal of a well-dressed man. All the contestants in a chess tournament could have played on his clothes at one time, and the ox-blood stripes on his shirt exactly matched the color of his necktie and socks. He had concluded his interview with Morris on the morning following Henochstein's fiasco, before Abe's arrival at the office, and he was just leaving as Abe came in.

"Who's that, Mawruss?" Abe asked, staring after the departing figure.

"That's Sam Slotkin," Morris replied. "He looks like a bright young feller."

"I bet yer he looks bright," Abe commented. "He looks so bright in them vaudeville clothes that it almost gives me eye-strain. I suppose he says he can get us the lofts."

"Sure," Morris answered; "he says he can fix us up all right."

"I hope so," Abe said skeptically, and at once repaired to the office. It was the tail-end of a busy season and Abe and Morris found no time to renew the topic of their forthcoming removal until two days later when Sam Slotkin again interviewed Morris. The result was communicated to Abe by Morris after Slotkin's departure.

"He says, Abe, that he thinks he's got the very place for us," Morris said.

"He thinks he got it, Mawruss," Abe exclaimed. "Well, we can't rip out our store here on the strength of a think, Mawruss. When will he know if he's got it?"

"To-morrow morning," Morris replied, and went upstairs to the workroom, where the humming of many machines testified to the last rush of the season's work. Abe joined him there a few minutes later.

"Believe me, Mawruss," he said, "I'll be glad when this here order for the Fashion Store is out."

"It takes a week yet, Goldman tells me," Morris replied, "and I guess we might have to work nights if they don't make it a hurry-up."

"Well, we're pretty late with that Fashion Store delivery as it is, Mawruss," Abe replied. "It wouldn't hurt none if we did work nights, Mawruss. We ought to get that order out by the day after to-morrow yet."

"You speak to 'em, Abe," Morris retorted, indicating the working force by a wave of his hand.

"What have I got to do with it?" Abe asked. "You're the inside man, Mawruss."

"To my sorrow, Abe," said Morris, "and if you was the inside man you would know it that if I told 'em they was working on a rush order they'd strike for more money already."

"And yet, Mawruss, you ain't in favor of giving out our work by contractors," Abe cried as he walked away.

The next morning Sam Slotkin was waiting in the show-room before Abe or Morris arrived. When they entered he advanced to meet them with a confident smile.

"I got it the very thing what you want, Mr. Perlmutter," he said. "A fine loft on Nineteenth Street."

"A loft!" Abe exclaimed.

"A fine loft," Slotkin corrected.

"How big a loft?" Morris asked.

"Well, it is maybe twicet as big as this here," Slotkin replied. "You could get into it all your machines and have a cutting-room and show-room and office besides."

"That sounds pretty good, Abe," Morris commented. "Don't you think so, Abe?"

Abe pulled off his coat with such force that he ripped the sleeve-lining.

"What are you doing," he demanded, "making jokes with me?"

"And it's only twenty dollars more a month as you're paying here," Slotkin concluded.

"Twenty dollars a month won't make us or break us, Abe," Morris said.

"It won't, hey?" Abe roared. "Well, that don't make no difference, Mawruss. You said you wanted it two lofts, and we got to have it two lofts. How do you think we're going to sell goods and keep our books, Mawruss, if we have all them machines kicking up a racket on the same floor?"

"Well, Abe, might we could send our work out by contractors, maybe," Morris answered with all the vivacity of a man suggesting a new and brilliant idea.

Abe stared at his partner for a minute.

"What's the matter with you, Morris, anyway?" he asked at length. "First you say it we must have two lofts and keep our work in our own shop, and now you turn right around again."

"I got to talking it over with Minnie last night," Morris replied, "and she thinks maybe if we give our work out by contractors we wouldn't need it to stay down so late, and then I wouldn't keep the dinner waiting an hour or so every other night. We lose it two good girls already by it in six months."

"Who is running this business, Mawruss?" Abe roared. "Minnie or us?"

Sam Slotkin listened with a slightly bored air.

"Gentlemen, gentlemen," he said, "what's the use of it you make all this disturbance? The loft is light on all four sides, with two elevators. Also, it is already big enough for——"

"What are you butting in for?" Abe shouted. "What business is it of yours, anyhow?"

"I am the broker," Sam Slotkin replied with simple dignity. "And also you're going to take that loft. Otherwise I lose it three hundred dollars' commission, and besides——"

"My partner is right," Morris interrupted. "You ain't got no business to say what we will or will not do. If we want to take it we will take it, otherwise not."

"Don't worry," Sam Slotkin cried, "you will take it all right and I'll be back this afternoon for an answer."

He put on his hat and left without another word, while Abe and Morris looked at each other in blank amazement.

"That's a real-estater for you," Abe said. "Henochstein's got it pretty good nerve, Mawruss, but this feller acts so independent like a doctor or a lawyer."

Morris nodded and started to hang up his hat and coat, but even as his hand was poised half-way to the hook it became paralyzed. Simultaneously Abe looked up from the column of the Daily Cloak and Suit Record and Miss Cohen, the bookkeeper, stopped writing; for the hum of sewing machines, which was as much a part of their weekday lives as the beating of their own hearts, had suddenly ceased.

Abe and Morris took the stairs leading to the upper floor three at a jump, and arrived breathlessly in the workroom just as fifty-odd employees were putting on their coats preparatory to leaving.

"What's the matter?" Abe gasped.

"Strike," Goldman, the foreman, replied.

"A strike!" Morris cried. "What for a strike?"

Goldman shrugged his shoulders.

"Comes a walking delegate by the opposite side of the street and makes with his hands motions," he explained. "So they goes out on strike."

Few of the striking operators could speak English, but those that did nodded their corroboration.

"For what you strike?" Morris asked them.

"Moost strike," one of them replied. "Ven varking delegate say moost strike, ve moost strike."

Sadly Abe and Morris watched their employees leave the building, and then they repaired to the show-room.

"There goes two thousand dollars, Mawruss," Abe said. "For so sure as you live, Mawruss, if we don't make that delivery to the Fashion Store inside of a week we get a cancelation by the next day's mail; ain't it?"

Morris nodded gloomily, and they both remained silent for a few minutes.

"Mawruss," Abe said at last, "where is that loft what Slotkin gives us?"

"What do you want to know for?"

"I'm going right up to have a look at it," Abe replied. "I'm sick and tired of this here strike business."

Morris heaved a great sigh.

"I believe you, Abe," he said. "The way I feel it now we will sell for junk every machine what we got."

Forthwith Abe boarded a car for uptown, and when he returned two hours later he found Goldman discussing ways and means with Morris in the show-room.

"Well, Abe," Morris cried, "what for a loft you seen it?"

Abe hung up his hat deliberately.

"I tell you the truth, Mawruss," he said, turning around, "the loft ain't bad. It's a good-looking loft, Mawruss, only it's certain sure we couldn't have no machines in that loft."

"Ai vai!" Goldman exclaimed, rocking to and fro in his chair and striking his head with his clenched fist.

"Nu Goldman?" Morris asked. "What's the trouble with you?"

"Troubles enough he got it, Mawruss," Abe said, as he watched Goldman's evolutions of woe. "If we do away with our machines he loses his job; ain't it?"

Sympathy seemed only to intensify Goldman's distress.

"Better than that he should make me dizzy at my stomach to watch him, Abe," Morris said. "I got a suggestion."

Goldman ceased rocking and looked up.

"I got a suggestion, Abe," Morris went on, "that we sell it our machines on long terms of credit to Goldman, and he should go into the contracting business; ain't it?"

"Ai vai!" Goldman cried again, and commenced to rock anew.

"Stop it, Goldman," Abe yelled. "What's the trouble now?"

"What show does a feller got it what starts as a new beginner in cloak contracting already?" Goldman wailed.

"Well," Abe replied, "you could get our work."

Morris seized on this as a happy compromise between his own advocacy of Ginsburg & Kaplan and the rival claims of Abe's wife's relations.

"Sure," he agreed. "We will give him the work what we give now to Satinstein and Ginsburg & Kaplan."

Goldman's face spread into a thousand wrinkles of joy.

"You save my life!" he exclaimed.

"Only he got to agree by a lawyer he should make it up our work a whole lot cheaper as they did," Morris concluded.

Goldman nodded vigorously.

"Sure, sure," he said.

"And also he got to help us call off this here strike," Abe added.

"I do my bestest," Goldman replied. "Only we got to see it the varking delegate first and fix it up with him."

"Who is this walking delegate, anyhow?" Morris asked.

Goldman scratched his head to aid his memory.

"I remember it now," he said at last. "It's a feller by the name Sam Slotkin."

When Abe and Morris recovered from the shock of Goldman's disclosure they vied with each other in the strength of their resolutions not to move into Sam Slotkin's loft. "I wouldn't pay it not one cent blackmail neither," Abe declared, "not if they kept it up the strike for a year."

"Better as we should let that sucker do us, Abe," Morris declared, "I would go out of the business first; ain't it?"

Abe nodded and, after a few more defiant sentiments, they went upstairs with Goldman to estimate the amount of work undone on the Fashion Store order.

"Them Fashion people was always good customers of ours, too, Mawruss," Abe commented, "and we couldn't send the work out by contractors in this shape. It would ruin the whole job."

Morris nodded sadly.

"If we could only get them devils of operators to finish up," he said, "they could strike till they was blue in the face yet."

"But I wouldn't pay one cent to that sucker, Slotkin, Mawruss," Abe added.

"Sure not," Morris agreed.

"Might you wouldn't have to pay him nothing, maybe," Goldman suggested.

"What d'ye mean?" Abe cried.

"Might if you would take it the loft he would call off the strike," said Goldman.

"That's so, Mawruss," Abe murmured, as though this phase of the matter had just occurred to him for the first time.

"Maybe Goldman is right, Abe," Morris replied. "Maybe if we took it the loft Slotkin would call off the strike."

"After all, Mawruss," Abe said, "the loft ain't a bad loft, Mawruss. If it wasn't such a good loft, Mawruss, I would say it no, Mawruss, we shouldn't take the loft; but the loft is a first-class A Number One loft."

"S'enough, Abe," Morris replied. "You don't have to tell it me a hundred times already. I ain't disputing it's a good loft; and so if Slotkin calls off the strike we take the loft."

At this juncture the store door opened and Slotkin himself entered.

"Good afternoon, gents," he said.

Morris and Abe greeted him with a scowl.

"I suppose you come for an answer about that loft, huh?" Morris snorted.

Slotkin stared at Abe indignantly.

"Excuse me, Mr. Perlmutter," he said, "I ain't here as broker. I'll see you later about that already. I come here now as varking delegate."

"Sure, I know," Abe replied. "When you call it a strike on us this morning, that ain't got nothing to do with our taking the loft. We believe that, Slotkin; so go ahead and tell us something else."

"It makes me no difference whether you believe it or you don't believe it, Mr. Potash," Slotkin went on. "All I got to say is that you signed it an agreement with the union; ain't it?"

"Sure, we signed it," said Abe, "and we kept it, too. We pay 'em always union prices and we keep it union hours."

"Prices and hours is all right," Slotkin said, "but in the agreement stands it you should give 'em a proper place to work in it."

"Well," Morris cried, "ain't it a proper place here to work in it?"

Slotkin shook his head.

"As varking delegate I seen it already. I seen it your shop where your operators work," he commenced, "and——"

"Why, you ain't never been inside our shop," Goldman cried.

"I seen it from the outside—from the street already—and as varking delegate it is my duty to call on you a strike," Slotkin concluded.

"What's the matter with the workroom?" Abe asked.

"Well, the neighborhood ain't right," Slotkin explained. "It's a narrow street already. It should be on a wider street like Nineteenth Street."

He paused to note the effect and Morris grunted involuntarily.

"Also," Slotkin continued, "it needs it light on four sides, and two elevators."

"And I suppose if we hire it such a loft, Slotkin," Abe broke in, "you will call off the strike."

"Sure I will call it off the strike," he declared. "It would be my duty as varking delegate. I moost call it off the strike."

"All right, then," Abe said; "call off the strike. We made up our mind we will take the loft."

"You mean you will take such a loft what the union agreement calls for and which I just described it to you," Slotkin corrected in his quality of walking delegate.

"That's what we mean," Abe replied.

"Why, then, that loft what I called to your attention, as broker, this morning would be exactly what you would need it!" Slotkin exclaimed, in the hearty tones of a conscientious man, glad that for once the performance of his official duty redounded to clean-handed personal profit.

"Sure," Abe grunted.

"Then, as broker, I tell it you that the leases is ready down at Henry D. Feldman's office," Slotkin replied, "and as soon as they are signed the strike is off."

A week later the Fashion Store's order was finished, packed and shipped; and on the same day that Goldman, the foreman, dismissed the hands he went down to Henry D. Feldman's office. There he signed an agreement with Potash & Perlmutter to make up all their garments in the contracting shop which he proposed to open the first of the following month.

"Where are you going to have it your shop, Goldman?" Morris asked, after they had returned from Feldman's.

"That I couldn't tell it you just yet," Goldman replied. "We ain't quite decided yet."

"We!" Abe cried excitedly. "Who's we?"

"Well, I expect to get it a partner with a couple of hundred dollars," Goldman said; "but, anyhow, Mr. Potash, I get some cards printed next week and I send you one."

"All right," Abe replied. "Only let me give it you a piece of advice, Goldman: If you get it a partner, don't make no mistake and have some feller what wants to run you and the business and everybody else, Goldman."

The thrust went home and Morris stared fiercely at his partner.

"And you should see it also that his wife ain't got no relations, Goldman," he added, "otherwise he'll want you to share the profits of the business with them."

Goldman nodded.

"Oh, I got a good, smart feller picked out, and his wife's relations will be all right, too," he said, as he started to leave. "But, anyhow, Mr. Perlmutter, I let you know next week."

About ten days afterward, while Morris and Abe were in the throes of packing, prior to the removal of their business, the letter-carrier entered with a batch of mail, and Morris immediately took it into the show-room.

"Here, Abe," he said, as he glanced at the first envelope, "this is for you."

Then he proceeded to go through the remainder of the pile.

"Holy smokes!" he cried, as he opened the next envelope.

"What's the matter?" Abe asked. "Is it a failure?" He had read his own letter and held it between trembling fingers as he inquired.

"Look at this," Morris said, handing him a card.

It was a fragment of cheap pasteboard and bore the following legend:




Abe read the card and handed it back in silence.

"Well, Abe," Morris cried, "that's a fine piece of business. We not only got to take it the loft what Slotkin picks out for us, but we also got to give Slotkin our work also."

Abe shrugged his shoulders in an indifferent manner.

"You always got to run things your way, Mawruss," he said. "If you let me do it my way, Mawruss, we wouldn't of had no strike nor trouble nor nothing, and it would of been the same in the end."

"What d'ye mean?" Morris exclaimed.

"Look at this here," Abe replied, handing him the letter. It was printed in script on heavily-coated paper and read as follows:




"Yes, Mawruss," Abe Potash said to his partner as they stood together and surveyed the wild disorder of their business premises, "one removal is worser as a fire."

"Sure it is," Morris Perlmutter agreed. "A fire you can insure it, Abe, but a removal is a risk what you got to take yourself; and you're bound to make it a loss."

"Not if you got a little system, Mawruss," Abe went on. "The trouble with us is, Mawruss, we ain't got no system. In less than three weeks already we got to move into the loft on Nineteenth Street, Mawruss, and we ain't even made up our minds about the fixtures yet."

"The fixtures!" Morris cried. "For why should we make up our minds about the fixtures, Abe?"

"We need to have fixtures, Mawruss, ain't it?"

"What's the matter with the fixtures what we got it here, Abe?" Morris asked.

"Them ain't fixtures what we got it here, Mawruss," Abe replied. "Junk is what we got it here, Mawruss, not fixtures. If we was to move them bum-looking racks and tables up to Nineteenth Street, Mawruss, it would be like an insult to our customers."

"Would it?" Morris replied. "Well, we ain't asking 'em to buy the fixtures, Abe; we only sell 'em the garments. Anyhow, if our customers was so touchy, Abe, they would of been insulted long since ago. For we got them fixtures six years already, and before we had 'em yet, Abe, Pincus Vesell bought 'em, way before the Spanish War, from Kupferman & Daiches, and then Kupferman & Daiches——"

"S'enough, Mawruss," Abe protested. "I ain't asked you you should tell me the family history of them fixtures, Mawruss. I know it as well as you do, Mawruss, them fixtures is old-established back numbers, and I wouldn't have 'em in the store even if we was going to stay here yet."

"You wouldn't have 'em in the store," Morris broke in; "but how about me? Ain't I nobody here, Abe? I think I got something to say, too, Abe. So I made up my mind we're going to keep them fixtures and move 'em up to the new store. We done it always a good business with them fixtures, Abe."

"Yes, Mawruss, and we also lose it a good customer by 'em, too," Abe rejoined. "You know as well as I do that after one-eye Feigenbaum, of the H. F. Cloak Company, run into that big rack over by the door and busted his nose we couldn't sell him no more goods."

"Was it the rack's fault that Henry Feigenbaum only got one eye, Abe?" Morris cried. "Anyhow, Abe, when a feller got a nose like Henry Feigenbaum, Abe, he's liable to knock it against most any thing, Abe; so you couldn't blame it on the fixtures."

"I don't know who was to blame, Mawruss," Abe said, "but I do know that he buys it always a big bill of goods from H. Rifkin, what's got that loft on the next floor above where we took it on Nineteenth Street, and Rifkin does a big business by him. I bet yer Feigenbaum's account is easy worth two thousand a year net to Rifkin, Mawruss."

"Maybe it is and maybe it ain't, Abe," Morris rejoined, "but that ain't here nor there. Instead you should be estimating Rifkin's profits, Abe, you should better be going up to Nineteenth Street and see if them people gets through painting and cleaning up. I got it my hands full down here."

Abe reached for his hat.

"I bet yer you got your hands full, Mawruss," he grumbled. "The way it looks, now, Mawruss, you got our sample lines so mixed up it'll be out of date before you get it sorted out again."

"All right," Morris retorted, "we'll get out a new one. We don't care nothing about the expenses, Abe. If the old fixtures ain't good enough our sample line ain't good enough, neither. Ain't it? What do we care about money, Abe?"

He paused to emphasize the irony.

"No, Abe," he concluded, "don't you worry about them samples, nor them fixtures, neither. You got worry enough if you tend to your own business, Abe. I'll see that them samples gets up to Nineteenth Street in good shape."

Abe shrugged his shoulders and made for the door.

"And them fixtures also, Abe," Morris shouted after him.

The loft building on Nineteenth Street into which Potash & Perlmutter proposed to move was an imposing fifteen-story structure. Burnished metal signs of its occupants flanked its wide doorway, and the entrance hall gleamed with gold leaf and plaster porphyry, while the uniform of each elevator attendant would have graced the high admiral of a South American Navy.

So impressed was Abe with the magnificence of his surroundings that he forgot to call his floor when he entered one of the elevators, and instead of alighting at the fifth story he was carried up to the sixth floor before the car stopped.

Seven or eight men stepped out with him and passed through the door of H. Rifkin's loft, while Abe sought the stairs leading to the floor below. He walked to the westerly end of the hall, only to find that the staircase was at the extreme easterly end, and as he retraced his footsteps a young man whom he recognized as a clerk in the office of Henry D. Feldman, the prominent cloak and suit attorney, was pasting a large sheet of paper on H. Rifkin's door.

It bore the following legend:


HENRY D. FELDMAN Attorney for Petitioning Creditors

Abe stopped short and shook the sticky hand of the bill-poster.

"How d'ye do, Mr. Feinstein?" he said.

"Ah, good morning, Mr. Potash," Feinstein cried in his employer's best tone and manner.

"What's the matter? Is Rifkin in trouble?"

"Oh, no," Feinstein replied ironically. "Rifkin ain't in trouble; his creditors is in trouble, Mr. Potash. The Federal Textile Company, ten thousand four hundred and eighty-two dollars; Miller, Field & Simpson, three thousand dollars; the Kosciusko Bank, two thousand and fifty."

Abe whistled his astonishment.

"I always thought he done it such a fine business," he commented.

"Sure he done it a fine business," the law clerk said. "I should say he did done it a fine business. If he got away with a cent he got away with fifty thousand dollars."

"Don't nobody know where he skipped to?"

"Only his wife," Feinstein replied, "and she left home yesterday. Some says she went to Canada and some says to Mexico; but they mostly goes to Brooklyn, and who in blazes could find her there?"

Abe nodded solemnly.

"But come inside and give a look around," Feinstein said hospitably. "Maybe there's something you would like to buy at the receiver's sale next week."

Abe handed Feinstein a cigar, and together they went into Rifkin's loft.

"He's got some fine fixtures, ain't it?" Abe said as he gazed upon the mahogany and plate-glass furnishings of Rifkin's office.

"Sure he has," Feinstein replied nonchalantly, scratching a parlor match on the veneered shelf under the cashier's window. The first attempt missed fire, and again he drew a match across the lower part of the partition, leaving a great scar on its polished surface.

"Ain't you afraid you spoil them fixtures?" Abe asked.

"They wouldn't bring nothing at the receiver's sale, anyhow," Feinstein replied, "even though they are pretty near new."

"They must have cost him a pretty big sum, ain't it?" Abe said.

"They didn't cost him a cent," Feinstein answered, "because he ain't paid a cent for 'em. Flaum & Bingler sold 'em to him, and they're one of the petitioning creditors. Twenty-one hundred dollars they got stung for, and they ain't got no chattel mortgage nor nothing. Look at them racks there and all them mirrors and tables! Good enough for a saloon. I bet yer them green baize doors, what he put inside the regular door, is worth pretty near a hundred dollars."

Abe nodded again.

"And I bet the whole shooting-match don't fetch five hundred dollars at the receiver's sale," Feinstein said.

"Why, I'd give that much for it myself," Abe cried.

Feinstein puffed away at his cigar for a minute.

"Do you honestly mean you'd like to buy them fixtures?" he said at last.

"Sure I'd like to buy them," Abe replied. "When is the receiver's sale going to be?"

"Next week, right after the order of adjudication is signed. But that won't do you no good. The dealers would bid 'em up on you, and you wouldn't stand no show at all. What you want to do is to buy 'em from the receiver at private sale."

"So?" Abe commented. "Well, how would I go about that?"

Feinstein pulled his hat over his eyes and, resting his cigar on the top of Rifkin's desk with the lighted end next to the wood, he drew Abe toward the rear of the office.

"Leave that to me," he said mysteriously. "Of course, you couldn't expect to get them fixtures much under six hundred dollars at private sale, because it's got to be done under the direction of the court; but for fifty dollars I could undertake to let you in on 'em for, say, five hundred and seventy-five dollars. How's that?"

Abe puffed at his cigar before replying.

"I got to see it my partner first," he said.

"That's all right, too," Feinstein rejoined; "but there was one dealer in here this morning already. As soon as the rest of 'em get on to this here failure they'll be buzzing around them fixtures like flies in a meat market, and maybe I won't be able to put it through for you at all."

"I tell you what I'll do," Abe said. "I'll go right down to the store and I'll be back here at two o'clock."

"You've got to hustle if you want them fixtures," he said.

"I bet yer I got to hustle," Abe said, his eyes fixed on the marred surface of the desk, "for if you're going to smoke many more cigars around here them fixtures won't be no more good to nobody."

"That don't harm 'em none," Feinstein replied. "A cabinetmaker could fix that up with a piece of putty and some shellac so as you wouldn't know it from new."

"But if I buy it them fixtures," Abe concluded, as he turned toward the door, "I'd as lief have 'em without putty, if it's all the same to you."

"Sure," Feinstein replied, and no sooner had Abe disappeared into the hall than he drew a morning paper from his pocket and settled down to his duties as keeper for the Federal receiver by selecting the most comfortable chair in the room and cocking up his feet against the side of Rifkin's desk.

"Well, Abe," Morris cried as his partner entered the store half an hour later, "I give you right."

"You give me right?" Abe repeated. "What d'ye mean?"

"About them fixtures," Morris explained. "I give you right. Them fixtures is nothing but junk, and we got to get some new ones."

"Sure we got to get some new ones, Mawruss," Abe agreed, "and I seen it the very thing what we want up at H. Rifkin's place."

"H. Rifkin's place," Morris exclaimed.

"That's what I said," Abe replied. "I got an idee, Mawruss, we should buy them fixtures what H. Rifkin got."

"Is that so?" Morris retorted. "Well, why should we buy it fixtures what H. Rifkin throws out?"

"He don't throw 'em out, Mawruss," Abe said. "He ain't got no more use for 'em, Mawruss. He busted up this morning."

"You can't make me feel bad by telling me that, Abe," Morris rejoined. "A sucker what takes from us a good customer like Henry Feigenbaum should of busted up long since already. But that ain't the point, Abe. If we're going to get it fixtures, we don't want no second-hand articles."

"They ain't no second-hand articles, Mawruss," Abe explained. "They're pretty near brand-new, and I got a particular reason why we should buy them fixtures, Mawruss."

He paused for some expression of curiosity from his partner, but Mawruss merely pursed his lips and looked bored.

"Yes, Mawruss," Abe went on, "I got it a particular reason why we should buy them fixtures, Mawruss. You see, this here Rifkin got it the loft right upstairs one flight from us, Mawruss, and naturally he's got it lots of out-of-town trade what don't know he's busted yet, Mawruss."

"No?" Morris vouchsafed.

"So these here out-of-town customers comes up to see Rifkin. They gets in the elevator and they says 'Sixth,' see? And the elevator man thinks they says 'Fifth,' and he lets 'em off at our floor because there ain't nobody on the sixth floor. Well, Mawruss, we leave our store door open, and the customer sees Rifkin's fixtures inside, so he walks in and thinks he's in Rifkin's place. Before he finds out he ain't, Mawruss, we sell him a bill of goods ourselves."

Morris stared at Abe in silent contempt.

"Of course, Mawruss," Abe went on, "I'm only saying they might do this, y'understand, and certainly it would only be for the first week or so what we are there, ain't it? But if we should only get it one or two customers that way, Mawruss, them fixtures would pay for themselves."

"Dreams you got it, Abe," Morris cried. "You think them customers would be blind, Abe? Ain't they got eyes in their head? Since when would they mistake a back number like you for an up-to-date feller like Rifkin, Abe?"

"Maybe I am a back number, Mawruss," Abe replied, "but I know a bargain when I see it. Them fixtures is practically this season's goods already. Why, H. Rifkin ain't even paid for them yet."

"There ain't no seasons in fixtures, Abe," Morris replied, "and besides, a feller like Rifkin could have it fixtures for ten years without paying for 'em. He could get 'em on the installment plan and give back a chattel mortgage, Abe. You couldn't tell me nothing about fixtures, Abe, because I know all about it."

"You don't seem to know much about it this morning when I spoke to you, Mawruss," Abe retorted.

"Sure not," Morris said, "but I learned it a whole lot since. I got to thinking it over after you left. So I rings up a feller by the name Flachsman, what is corresponding secretary in the District Grand Lodge of the Independent Order Mattai Aaron, which I belong it. This here Flachsman got a fixture business over on West Broadway."

Abe nodded. He lit a fresh cigar to sustain himself against impending bad news.

"And this here Flachsman comes around here half an hour ago and shows me pictures from fixtures, Abe; and he got it such elegant fixtures like a bank or a saloon, which he could put it in for us for two thousand dollars."

"Two thousand dollars!" Abe cried.

"Well, twenty-two fifty," Morris amended. "Comes to about the same with cash discount. Flachsman tells me he seen the kind of loft we got and knows it also the measurements; so I think to myself what's the use waiting. Abe wants it we should buy the fixtures, and we ain't got no time to lose. So I signed the contract."

Abe sat down heavily in the nearest chair and pushed his hat back from his forehead.

"Yes, Mawruss," he said bitterly, "that's the way it goes when a feller's got a partner what is changeable like Paris fashions. You are all plain one minute, and the next you are all soutache and buttons. This morning you wouldn't buy no fixtures, not if you could get 'em for nix, and a couple hours later you throw it away two thousand dollars in the streets."

Morris glared indignantly at his partner.

"You are the changeable one, Abe," he cried, "not me. This morning old fixtures to you is junk. Ain't it? You got to have new fixtures and that's all there is to it. But now, Abe, new fixtures is poison to you, and you got to have second-hand fixtures. What's the matter with you, anyway, Abe?"

"I told it you a dozen times already, Mawruss," Abe replied, "them ain't no exactly second-hand fixtures what Rifkin got it. Them fixtures is like new—fine mahogany partitions and plated glass."

"That's what we bought it, Abe," Morris said, "fine mahogany partitions with plated glass. If you wouldn't jump so much over me, I would of told you about it."

Abe shrugged despairingly.

"Go ahead," he said. "I ain't jumping over you."

"Well, in the first place, Abe," Morris went on, "there's a couple of swinging doors inside the hall door."

"Just like Rifkin's," Abe interrupted.

"Better as Rifkin's," Morris exclaimed. "Them doors is covered with goods, Abe, and holes in each door with glass into it."

"Sure, I know," Abe replied. "Rifkin's doors got green cashmere onto 'em like a pool table."

"Only new, not second-hand," Morris added. "Then, when you get through them doors, on the left side is the office with mahogany partitions and plated glass, with a hole into it like a bank already."

"Sure! The same what I seen it up at Rifkin's, Mawruss," Abe broke in again.

Morris drew himself up and scowled at Abe.

"How many times should I tell it you, Abe," he cried, "them fixtures what Flachsman sells it us is new, and not like Rifkin's."

"Go ahead, Mawruss," Abe replied. "Let's hear it."

"Over the hole is a sign, Cashier," Morris continued.

Abe was about to nod again, but at a warning glance from Morris he thought better of it.

"But I told it Flachsman we ain't got no cashier, only a bookkeeper," Morris said, "and so he says he could put it Bookkeeper over the hole. Inside the office is two desks, one for you and me, and a high one for the bookkeeper behind the hole. On the right-hand side as you go inside them pool-table doors is another mahogany partition, and back of that is the cutting-room already. Then you walk right straight ahead, and between them two partitions is like a hall-way, what leads to the front of the loft, and there is the show-room with showcases, racks and tables like what I got it a list here."

"And the whole business will cost it us two thousand dollars, Mawruss," Abe commented.

"Two thousand two hundred and fifty," Morris said.

"Well, all I got to say is we would get it the positively same identical thing by H. Rifkin's place for six hundred dollars," Abe concluded.

He rose to his feet and took off his hat and coat.

"What did you say this here feller Flachsman was in the district lodge of the I. O. M. A., Mawruss?" he inquired.

"Corresponding secretary," Morris replied. "What for you ask, Abe?"

"Oh, nothing," Abe replied as he turned away. "Only, I was wondering what he would soak us for them fixtures, Mawruss, if he would of been Grand Master."

Ten days afterward the receiver in bankruptcy sold Rifkin's stock and fixtures at auction, and when Abe and Morris took possession of their new business premises on the first of the following month the topic of H. Rifkin's failure had ceased to be of interest to the cloak and suit trade. Morris alone harped upon it.

"Well, Abe," he said for the twentieth time, gazing proudly around him, "what's the matter with them fixtures what we got it? Huh? Ain't them fixtures got H. Rifkin skinned to death?"

Abe shook his head solemnly.

"Mind you, Mawruss," he began, "I ain't saying them fixtures what we got it ain't good fixtures, y'understand; but they ain't one, two, six with H. Rifkin's fixtures."

"That's what you say, Abe," Morris retorted, "but Flachsman says different. I seen him at the lodge last night, and he tells me them fixtures what H. Rifkin got it was second quality, Abe. Flachsman says they wouldn't of stood being took down and put up again. He says he wouldn't sell them fixtures as second-hand to an East Broadway concern, without being afraid for a comeback."

"Flachsman don't know what he's talking about," Abe declared hotly. "Them fixtures was A Number One. I never seen nothing like 'em before or since."

"Bluffs you are making it, Abe," Morris replied. "You seen them fixtures for ten minutes, maybe, Abe, and in such a short time you couldn't tell nothing at all about 'em."

"Couldn't I, Mawruss?" Abe said. "Well, them fixtures was the kind what you wouldn't forget it if you seen 'em for only five minutes. I bet yer I would know them anywhere, Mawruss, if I seen them again, and what we got it here from Flachsman is a weak imitation, Mawruss. That's all."

At this juncture a customer entered, and for half an hour Morris busied himself displaying the line. In the meantime Abe went out to lunch, and when he entered the building on his return a familiar, bulky figure preceded him into the doorway.

"Hallo!" Abe cried, and the bulky figure stopped and turned around.

"Hallo yourself!" he said.

"You don't know me, Mr. Feigenbaum," Abe went on.

"Why, how d'ye do, Mr. Potash?" Feigenbaum exclaimed. "What brings you way uptown here?"

"We m——" Abe commenced—"that is to say, I come up here to see a party. I bet yer we're going to the same place, Mr. Feigenbaum."

"Maybe," Mr. Feigenbaum grunted.

"Sixth floor, hey?" Abe cried jocularly, slapping Mr. Feigenbaum on the shoulder.

Mr. Feigenbaum's right eye assumed the glassy stare which was permanent in his left.

"What business is that from yours, Potash?" he asked.

"Excuse me, Mr. Feigenbaum," Abe said with less jocularity, "I didn't mean it no harm."

Together they entered the elevator, and Abe created a diversion by handing Mr. Feigenbaum a large, black cigar with a wide red-and-gold band on it. While Feigenbaum was murmuring his thanks the elevator man stopped the car at the fifth floor.

"Here we are!" Abe cried, and hustled out of the elevator ahead of Mr. Feigenbaum. He opened the outer door of Potash & Perlmutter's loft with such rapidity that there was no time for Feigenbaum to decipher the sign on its ground-glass panel, and the next moment they stood before the green-baize swinging doors.

"After you, Mr. Feigenbaum," Abe said. He followed his late customer up the passageway between the mahogany partitions, into the show-room.

"Take a chair, Mr. Feigenbaum," Abe cried, dragging forward a comfortable, padded seat, into which Feigenbaum sank with a sigh.

"I wish we could get it furniture like this up in Bridgetown," Feigenbaum said. "A one-horse place like Bridgetown you can't get nothing there. Everything you got to come to New York for. We are dead ones in Bridgetown. We don't know nothing and we don't learn nothing."

"That's right, Mr. Feigenbaum," Abe said. "You got to come to New York to get the latest wrinkles about everything."

With one comprehensive motion he drew forward a chair for himself and waved a warning to Morris, who ducked behind a rack of cloaks in the rear of the show-room.

"You make yourself to home here, Potash, I must say," Feigenbaum observed.

Abe grunted inarticulately and handed a match to Feigenbaum, who lit his cigar, a fine imported one, and blew out great clouds of smoke with every evidence of appreciative enjoyment.

"Where's Rifkin?" he inquired between puffs.

Abe shook his head and smiled.

"You got to ask me something easier than that, Mr. Feigenbaum," he murmured.

"What d'ye mean?" Feigenbaum cried, jumping to his feet.

"Ain't you heard it yet?" Abe asked.

"I ain't heard nothing," Feigenbaum exclaimed.

"Then sit down and I'll tell you all about it," Abe said.

Feigenbaum sat down again.

"You mean to tell me you ain't heard it nothing about Rifkin?" Abe went on.

"Do me the favor, Potash, and spit it out," Feigenbaum broke in impatiently.

"Well, Rifkin run away," Abe announced.

"Run away!"

"That's what I said," Abe went on. "He made it a big failure and skipped to the old country."

"You don't tell me!" Feigenbaum said. "Why, I used to buy it all my goods from Rifkin."

Abe leaned forward and placed his hand on Feigenbaum's knees.

"I know it," he murmured, "and oncet you used to buy it all your goods from us, Mr. Feigenbaum. I assure you, Mr. Feigenbaum, I don't want to make no bluffs nor nothing, but believe me, the line of garments what we carry and the line of garments what H. Rifkin carried, there ain't no comparison. Merchandise what H. Rifkin got in his place as leaders already, I wouldn't give 'em junk room."

Mr. Feigenbaum nodded.

"Well, the fixtures what you was carrying at one time, Potash, I wouldn't give 'em junk room neither," Feigenbaum declared. "You're lucky I didn't sue you in the courts yet for busting my nose against that high rack of yours. I ain't never recovered from that accident what I had in your place, Potash. I got it catarrh yet, I assure you."

"Accidents could happen with the best regulations, Mr. Feigenbaum," Abe cried, "and you see that here we got it a fine new line of fixtures."

"Not so good as what Rifkin carried," Feigenbaum said.

"Rifkin carried fine fixtures, Mr. Feigenbaum," Abe admitted, "but not so fine as what we got. We got it everything up to date. You couldn't bump your nose here, not if you was to get down on your hands and knees and try."

"I wouldn't do it," Mr. Feigenbaum said solemnly.

"Sure not," Abe agreed. "But come and look around our loft. We just moved in here, and everything we got it is new—fixtures and garments as well."

"I guess you must excuse me. I ain't got much time to spare," Mr. Feigenbaum declared. "I got to get along and buy my stuff."

Abe sprang to his feet.

"Buy it here!" he cried. He seized Feigenbaum by the arm and propelled him over to the sample line of skirts, behind which Morris cowered.

"Look at them goods," Abe said. "One or two of them styles would be leaders for H. Rifkin. For us, all them different styles is our ordinary line."

In turn, he displayed the rest of the firm's line and exercised his faculties of persuasion, argument and flattery to such good purpose that in less than an hour Feigenbaum had bought three thousand dollars' worth of garments, deliveries to be made within ten days.

"And now, Mr. Feigenbaum," Abe said, "I want you to look around our place. Mawruss is in the office, and he would be delighted, I know, to see you."

He conducted his rediscovered customer to the office, where Morris was seated at the roll-top mahogany desk.

"Ah, Mr. Feigenbaum," Morris cried, effusively seizing the newcomer by both hands, "ain't it a pleasure to see you again! Take a seat."

He thrust Feigenbaum into the revolving chair that he had just vacated, and took the box of gilt-edge customers' cigars out of the safe.

"Throw away that butt and take a fresh cigar," he exclaimed, handing Feigenbaum a satiny Invincible with the broad band of the best Havana maker on it. Feigenbaum received it with a smile, for he was now completely thawed out.

"You got a fine place here, Mawruss," he said. "Fixtures and everything A Number One, just like Rifkin's."

"Better as Rifkin's," Morris declared.

"Well, maybe it is better in quality," Feigenbaum admitted; "but, I mean, in arrangement and color it is just the same. Why, when I come in here with Abe, an hour ago, I assure you I thought I was in Rifkin's old place. In fact, I could almost swear this desk is the same desk what Rifkin had it."

He rose to his feet and passed his hand over the top of the desk with the touch of a connoisseur.

"No," he said at last. "It ain't the same as Rifkin's. Rifkin's desk was a fine piece of Costa Rica mahogany without a flaw. I used to be in the furniture business oncet, you know, Mawruss, and so I can tell."

Abe flashed a triumphant grin on Morris, who frowned in reply.

"But ain't this here desk that—now—what-yer-call-it mahogany, too, Mr. Feigenbaum?" Morris asked.

"Well, it's Costa Rica mahogany, all right," Feigenbaum said, "but it's got a flaw into it."

"A flaw?" Morris and Abe exclaimed with one voice.

"Sure," Mr. Feigenbaum continued. "It looks to me like somebody laid a cigar on to it and burned a hole there. Then some cabinetmaker fixed it up yet with colored putty and shellac. Nobody would notice nothing except an expert like me, though."

Feigenbaum looked at Morris' glum countenance with secret enjoyment, but when he turned to Abe he was startled into an exclamation, for Abe's face was ashen and large beads of perspiration stood out on his forehead.

"What's the matter, Abe?" Feigenbaum cried. "Are you sick?"

"My stummick," Abe murmured. "I'll be all right in a minute!"

Feigenbaum took his hat and coat preparatory to leaving.

"Well, boys," he said genially, "you got to excuse me. I must be moving on."

"Wait just a minute," Abe said. "I want you to look at something."

He led Feigenbaum out of the office and down the passageway between the mahogany partitions. In front of the little cashier's window Abe stopped and pointed to the shelf and panel beneath.

"Mr. Feigenbaum," he said in shaking tones, "do you see something down there?"

Mr. Feigenbaum examined the woodwork closely.

"Yes, Abe," he answered. "I see it that some loafer has been striking matches on it, but it's been all fixed up so that you wouldn't notice nothing."

"S'enough," Abe cried. "I'm much obliged to you."

In silence Abe and Morris ushered Mr. Feigenbaum to the outer door, and as soon as it closed behind him the two partners faced each other.

"What difference does it make, Abe?" Morris said. "A little hole and a little scratch don't amount to nothing."

Abe gulped once or twice before he could enunciate.

"It don't amount to nothing, Mawruss," he croaked. "Oh, no, it don't amount to nothing, but sixteen hundred and fifty dollars."

"What d'ye mean?" Morris exclaimed.

"I mean this," Abe thundered: "I mean, we paid twenty-two hundred and fifty dollars for what we could of bought for six hundred dollars. Them fixtures what we bought it from Flachsman, he bought it from Rifkin's bankruptcy sale. I mean that these here fixtures are the positively same identical fixtures what I seen it upstairs in H. Rifkin's loft."

It was now Morris' turn to change color, and his face assumed a sickly hue of green.

"How do you know that?" he gasped.

"Because I was in Rifkin's old place when that lowlife Feinstein, what works for Henry D. Feldman, had charge of it after the failure; and I seen Feinstein strike them matches and put his seegar on the top from the desk."

He led the way back to the office and once more examined the flaw in the mahogany.

"Yes, Mawruss," he said, "two thousand two hundred and fifty dollars we got to pay it for this here junk. Twenty-two hundred and fifty dollars, Mawruss, you throw it into the street for damaged, second-hand stuff what ain't worth two hundred."

"Why, you say it yourself you wanted to pay six hundred for it, Abe," Morris protested, "and you said it was first-class, A Number One fixtures."

"Me, Mawruss!" Abe exclaimed. "I'm surprised to hear you should talk that way, Mawruss. I knew all the time that them fixtures was bum stuff. I only wanted to buy 'em because I thought that they would bring us some of Rifkin's old customers, Mawruss, and I was right."

"You're always right, Abe," Morris retorted. "Maybe you was right when you said Feinstein made them marks, Abe, and maybe you wasn't. Feinstein ain't the only one what scratches matches and smokes seegars, Abe. You smoke, too, Abe."

"All right, Mawruss," Abe said. "I scratched them matches and burnt that hole, if you think so; but just the same, Mawruss, if I did or if I didn't, Ike Flachsman done us, anyhow."

"How d'ye know that, Abe?" Morris blurted out. "I don't believe them fixtures is Rifkin's fixtures at all, and I don't believe that Flachsman bought 'em at Rifkin's sale. What's more, Abe, I'm going to get Feinstein on the 'phone right away and find out who did buy 'em."

He went to the telephone immediately and rang up Henry D. Feldman's office.

"Hallo, Mr. Feinstein," he said, after the connection had been made. "This is Mawruss Perlmutter, of Potash & Perlmutter. You know them fixtures what H. Rifkin had it?"

"I sure do," Feinstein replied.

"Well, who bought it them fixtures at the receiver's sale?"

"I got to look it up," Feinstein said. "Hold the wire for a minute."

A moment later he returned to the 'phone.

"Hallo, Mr. Perlmutter," he said. "They sold for three hundred dollars to a dealer by the name Isaac Flachsman."


"Say, looky here, Abe," Morris cried one rainy March morning, "we got to get some more insurance."

"What do you mean, insurance?" Abe asked. "We got enough insurance, Mawruss. Them Rifkin fixtures ain't so valuable as all that, Mawruss, and even if we wouldn't already got it for twenty thousand dollars insurance, Mawruss, the building is anyhow fireproof. In a fireproof building you don't got to have so much insurance."

"Is that so?" Morris replied. "Well, Pinkel Brothers' building where they got it a loft is fireproof, and they got it also oitermatic sprinklers, Abe, and they somehow get burned out anyhow."

"You couldn't prove to me nothing by Pinkel Brothers, Mawruss," Abe rejoined. "Them people has already got a hundred operators and we ain't got one, Mawruss, and every operator smokes yet a cigarettel, and you know what them cigarettels is, Mawruss. They practically smokes themselves. So, if an operator throws one of them cigarettels in a bin from clippings, Mawruss, that cigarettel would burn up them clippings certain sure. For my part, I wouldn't have a cigarettel in the place; and so, Mawruss, we wouldn't have no fire, neither."

"I know, Abe," Morris protested; "but the loft upstairs is vacant and the loft downstairs is vacant, and everybody ain't so grouchy about cigarettels like you are, Abe. Might one of them lofts would be taken by a feller what is already a cigarettel fiend, Abe. And fires can start by other causes, too; and then where would we be with our twenty thousand insurance and all them piece goods what we got it?"

"But the building is fireproof, Mawruss."

"Sure I know," Morris replied; "fireproof buildings is like them gilt-edge, A Number One concerns what you sell goods to for ten years, maybe, and then all of a sudden when you don't expect it one of 'em busts up on you. And that's the way it is with fireproof buildings, Abe. They're fireproof so long as nobody has a fire in 'em."

Abe shrugged his shoulders and lit a fresh cigar.

"All right, Mawruss," Abe said; "I'm satisfied. If you want to get some more insurance, go ahead. I got worry enough I should bother my head about trifles. A little money for insurance we can afford to spend it, Mawruss, so long as we practically throw it in the streets otherwise."

"Otherwise?" Morris repeated. "What do you mean we throw it away otherwise, Abe?"

"I mean that new style thirty-twenty-eight what you showed it me this morning, Mawruss," Abe replied. "For a popular-price line, Mawruss, them new capes has got enough buttons and soutache on to 'em to sell for twenty dollars already instead of twelve-fifty."

"That's where you talk without knowing nothing what you say, Abe," Morris replied. "That garment what you seen it is the winder sample what I made it up for Louis Feinholz's uptown store. Louis give me a big order while you was in Boston last week, a special line of capes what I got up for him to retail at eighteen-fifty. But he also wanted me to make up for him a winder sample, just one garment to hang in the winder what would look like them special capes, Abe, y'understand, something like a diamond looks like a rhinestone. Then, when a lady sees that cape in the winder, she wants to buy one just like it, so she goes into Louis' store and they show her one just like it, only three inches shorter, a yard less goods into it, about half the soutache on to it and a dozen buttons short, Abe; because that winder garment what we make for Louis costs us ourselves twenty-five dollars, and Louis retails the garment what he sells that lady for eighteen-fifty. And that's the way it goes."

"That's a fine crook, that Louis Feinholz," Abe cried virtuously. "I wonder that you would sell people like that goods at all, Mawruss. That feller ain't no good, Mawruss. I seen him go back three times on four hundred hands up at Max Geigerman's house last week, a dollar a hundred double-double. He's a gambler, too."

"Well, Abe," Morris answered, "a feller what runs a chance on auction pinochle ain't near the gambler like a feller what is willing to run a chance on his business burning out and don't carry no insurance, Abe."

"Who is willing to run a chance, Mawruss?" Abe cried. "Just to show you I ain't willing to run a chance I will go right down to J. Blaustein and take out a ten-thousand-dollar policy, Mawruss."

Morris colored slightly.

"Why should we give it Blaustein all our business, Abe?" he said. "That feller must got it a thousand customers to Rudy Feinholz's one."

"Whose one?" Abe asked.

"Rudy Feinholz's," said Morris. "I thought I told it you that Louis Feinholz's nephew got an insurance business on Lenox Avenue, and I promised Louis I would give the young feller a show."

"You promised you would give him a show, Mawruss?" Abe repeated. "You promised Louis you would give that kid nephew of his what used to run Louis' books a show?"

"That's what I said, Abe," Morris answered.

"Well, all I can say, Mawruss," Abe declared as he put on his hat, "is that I wouldn't insure it a pinch of snuff by that feller, Mawruss. So if you take out any policies from him you can pay for 'em yourself, Mawruss, because I won't."

He favored Morris with a final glare and banged the door behind him.

Two hours later when Abe reentered the show-room his face was flushed with triumph and he smoked one of J. Blaustein's imported cigars.

"You see, Mawruss," he said, flourishing a folded policy, "when you deal with fellers like Blaustein it goes quick. I got it here a ten-thousand-dollar insurance by a first-class, A Number One company."

Morris seized the policy and spread it out on the table. For ten minutes he examined it closely and then handed it back in silence.

"Well, Mawruss," Abe inquired anxiously, "ain't that policy all right?"

Morris shook his head.

"In the first place, Abe," he said, "why should we insure it a loft on Nineteenth Street, New York, in the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Insurance Company, of Manchester, England? Are we English or are we American, Abe?"

This was a poser, and Abe remained silent.

"And then again, Abe," Morris went on, "supposing we should—maybe, I am only saying—have a fire, Abe, then we must got to go all the way to Manchester, England, already to collect our money. Ain't it?"

Abe stared at his feet and made no reply, while Morris again examined the folded policy.

"Just listen here to these here names of the people what run the company, Abe," he said. "Chairman, the rutt honn Earl of Warrington."

Abe looked up suddenly.

"What kind of Chinese talk is that, Mawruss?" he said. "Rutt honn?"

"That's no Chinese talk, Abe," Morris replied. "That's printed right here on the policy. That rutt honn Earl of Warrington is president of the board of directors, Abe; and supposing we should maybe for example have a fire, Abe, what show would we stand it with this here rutt honn Earl of Warrington?"

Abe grabbed the policy, which bore on its reverse side the list of directors headed by the name of that distinguished statesman and Cabinet minister, the Rt. Hon. Earl of Warrington.

"J. Blaustein would fix it for us," Abe replied.

"J. Blaustein," Morris jeered. "I suppose, Abe, him and the rutt honn Earl of Warrington drinks coffee together every afternoon when J. Blaustein makes a trip to Manchester, England. Ain't it? No, Abe, you are up against a poor proposition, and I hope you ain't paid for that policy, Abe."

"J. Blaustein ain't in no hurry," Abe said. "We never pay him inside of sixty days, anyway."

"Well, we ain't going to pay him for that policy inside of sixty days or six hundred and sixty days, neither, Abe. We're going to fire that policy back on him, Abe, because I got it here a policy for ten thousand dollars which Rudy Feinholz just brought it me, Abe, and we are insured in a good American company, Abe, the Farmers and Ranchers' Insurance Company, of Arizona."

Abe shrugged his shoulders.

"Why should we insure it a stock of cloaks and suits by farmers and ranchers, Mawruss?" he asked.

"Ain't it better we should insure our goods by farmers and ranchers as by somebody what we don't know what he does for a living, like the rutt honn Earl of Warrington?" Morris retorted.

"But when it comes right down to it, Mawruss," Abe said, "how are we better off, supposing we got to go all the way to Arizona to collect our money?"

"That's what I told it young Feinholz," Morris replied, "and he says supposing we should, so to speak, have a fire, he guarantees it we would collect our money every cent of it right here in New York. And anyhow, Abe, any objections what you got to this here Farmers and Ranchers' policy wouldn't be no use anyhow."

"No?" Abe said. "Why not?"

"Because I just sent it Rudy Feinholz a check for the premium," Morris said, and walked out of the show-room before Abe could enunciate all the profanity that rose to his lips.

Louis Feinholz's order was shipped the following week, and with it went the cape for his show window. Abe himself superintended the packing, for business was dull in the firm's show-room. A particularly warm March had given way to a frigid, rainy April, and now that the promise of an early spring had failed of fulfillment cancelations were coming in thick and fast. Hence, Abe took rather a pessimistic view of things.

"I bet yer Feinholz will have yet some kicks about them goods, Mawruss," he said. "When I come down Feinholz's street this morning, Mawruss, it looked like Johnstown after the flood. I bet yer Feinholz ain't making enough in that store just now to pay electric-light bills."

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